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President Obama’s Immigration Policies

The Immigration Reform policy put forward by President Obama in 2014, also known as DAPA – Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, has a new chance of becoming reality this year since the Supreme Court announced last week that it would be reviewing the case in the spring session. The policy could be presented before the highest court in the nation, as early as April 2016. It is estimated that a decision could be reached as early as June.

If DAPA is finally approved, following all of the hardships it has already faced, it will still be at the discretion of the incoming president if the policy would be implemented or discarded. The changes also extend to an expansion of DACA – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy already in place thanks to President Obama. DACA offers protection from removal or deportation to young people who were brought into the country before they were 16 years of age and have remained here undocumented. DACA also specifics that one of the requirements for eligibility is a high school diploma, its equivalent or students currently enrolled and on track for a high school diploma. Another requirement is a criminal free record. The individuals already taking advantage of DACA are able to obtain work authorization, driver’s licenses and a social security number.

DAPA was initially blocked in the federal courts when a judge in Texas filed an injunction in February 2015 on the basis that the president had overstepped his authority in issuing the Executive Order on DAPA. Following that injunction, the White House staff appealed this but did not prevail last November when the 5th United States Court of Appeals upheld the injunction. Following that defeat, President Obama’s administration filed the appeal with the United States Supreme Court, where the case now stand for final decision. The White House continues to hold that Texas has no standing in opposing the Executive Order. Texas federal courts however, contend that the issuance of the work authorization cards and driver’s licenses would cost the state millions of dollars and therefore, these added expenses provide them with legal standing, or authority for the appeal.

The issue of immigration being elevated to the Supreme Court continues to place it at the forefront of the Presidential Campaign for 2016. Republican hopeful, Donald Trump has taken a harsh stand on the subject, promising to deport all undocumented individuals from the United States. As strong as the announcement sounds, not all Republican contenders agree with Trump’s extreme plan.

Republican candidate Marco Rubio, has stated that he would move for the legalization of many undocumented individuals present in the county. He joins the ranks of Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on this issue, who also believe in putting forth a legalization process rather than imminent deportation or removal.

Both Republican and Democratic candidates for the President Race this coming November, will have to address the growing concern surrounding immigration and proposed reform. Who the nation supports and ultimately elects will be indicative of the current climate surrounding immigration in the country.